Oh hey. Wanna know a London foodie secret? There are loads of restaurants all over the city with top secret dishes that aren’t on the menu. Who’d have thought it?
To try out the concept, I went along to a secret foodie location in West London, for their ‘Modern Twist on Moroccan Culinary History’ dish. I’d tell you exactly where but…it’s a secret…!
Alright. So. How does Eatoffthemenu work?
It’s pretty simple. You hop onto their website, and browse through the secret dishes on offer. To keep up the secrecy, you won’t know the name of the restaurant until you book – but the site will tell you the approximate location, so you know you’re booking something you can get to. There’s quite a good variety of locations at the time of writing, from West London to Shoreditch and even in Croydon.
Some of the restaurants have different variants, where you can opt for either just the secret dish, or a full dining experience. Although you’re not told precisely what the actual dish is, the images on the site will give you a pretty good idea of what you’re getting. Once you’ve chosen your dish, you pay through the site, go to the restaurant, ask for the dish and show your receipt from Eatoffthemenu. You can order extra courses, sides and drinks, and they’ll be paid for at the restaurant as you would on a normal visit.
Oh, and as well as the straight up secret dish, you can also take part in cooking classes and secret supper clubs!
Our secret dish experience
To start, we had a bowl of squid, chorizo and green olives. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the hugest fan, although the chorizo was tasty and spicy. But it’s all about that secret dish, right?
Enter the main course – a cod fillet on top of a bed of tomato sauce and kale. If I’d been browsing the menu, this is something I probably wouldn’t have chosen to order. But it was super tasty. The fresh cod was really complemented by the sharpness of the kale and the Moroccan spice of the tomato sauce. The only downside? I could have easily scoffed another full portion! I’d happily eat this again, and we also got to hear from the chef how the recipe came about, which was a really interesting take on the dining experience. Knowing there was love and a story behind this dish definitely made me appreciate it all the more
We also had a delicious dessert at the unnamed restaurant (alright, you can get in on the secret), which was an apple pie with ice cream. Again, not something I’d order myself but oh my. Wow. It tasted really homemade and delicious, like the kind your granny would make when you were a kid and visited on a Sunday afternoon.
Also delicious? The white wine.
Being 100% honest? I do feel like some dishes are quite expensive for what they are – for example, ours cost more than anything else on the mains menu at the restaurant. Basically, you’re paying a little bit for the experience as well as the food, so it’s probably one for payday, or if you want to impress someone with your foodie knowledge.
You also need to put quite a bit of trust in the restaurant, and if you’re fussy about what you eat or have a specific diet, you might struggle with the idea.
I LOVE the idea of secret dishes. I’ve found myself down internet rabbit holes reading about the likes of McDonalds and In’n’Out’s secret menus – although this experience is definitely a bit more high end.
Eating something that not many people know about totally feeds your ego as well as your face, and gives you that little sparkle of feeling ‘in the know’ about these things. “Wait, you HAVEN’T had the secret dish?!”. That feeling.
The dish itself was delicious, and also a fun experience to share with friends as we bounced our thoughts on the meal back and forth across the table.
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Hopefully in time, Eatoffthemenu will be offering a bigger range of secret dishes across the city – I’m definitely interested in giving the idea another try. There’s a burger one in NW London I’ve got my eye on already. Putting my reservations aside and putting trust in the restaurant was definitely an enlightening experience, and it gave me the chance to try a dish I might not normally go for. If you’re an adventurous food-lover in London, I’d say it’s worth a punt.
What restaurants would you love to try a secret dish from?
*I recieved a complimentary meal in exchange for review of the concept. All views honest, as normal.